Jackson, Mississippi — March 23, 2017— Travel and tourism continue to have a consistent, positive impact on the state, the new 2016 Visit Mississippi Economic Impact Report reveals.
“Tourism plays a tremendous role in Mississippi’s economy,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “Our state’s wealth of unique sights, sounds, tastes and experiences attracted an estimated 23 million visitors last year, contributing to $6.3 billion spent in the state and generating $395.1 million for the state’s General Fund.”
The travel and tourism industry provides a reliable source of revenue for Mississippi. Over the past decade, contributions to the General Fund from travel and tourism averaged $385.8 million per year. The FY 2016 amount, which accounts for 7.4 percent of the total General Fund, is a 2.4 percent increase over the ten-year average and a 2.3 percent increase over FY 2015.
Estimated direct employment in travel and tourism reached an 11-year high of 86,600 in FY 2016, a sign of steady growth over post-Katrina and Great Recession-era lows. The total number employed in the industry is also higher than the 20-year average.
“Nearly 98 percent of people working in travel and tourism in Mississippi are employed in the private sector,” said MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough, Jr. “Without travel and tourism, Mississippi would lose more than 124,000 direct and indirect jobs. This is a vital component to our economic health that cannot be outsourced.”
Mississippi hosted approximately 23 million total visitors for overnight and day trips in FY 2016, including domestic leisure, business, group and international travel, up 3 percent over FY 2015 and slightly higher than the average 22 million visitors per year during a 20-year period from 1997 to 2016. Out-of-state visitors to Mississippi spent an estimated $4.8 billion in FY 2016, making up more than three-quarters of total travel and tourism revenue.
“When visitors dine in our restaurants, stay overnight and play at our golf courses and casinos, they experience genuine hospitality,” said Visit Mississippi Director Craig Ray.
Economic areas bolstered by travel and tourism include lodging, retail, attractions, gaming, outdoor recreation and transportation such as air and rail, among others cited in the report.